The musings of an IT Consultant


December 11, 2012  7:37 PM

Windows 8 Customization

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So after I had all my apps setup and my start menu all sorted with Stardock’s Start8 app, I decided I wanted to do more customizations/personalizations to my Windows 8 installation.

So how does one do this? Well the good folks at Stardock have yet another cool app called Decor8. This allows you to modify background images for your start screen and appy effects. You can also modify the color scheme.

If you want to try Decor8, you can try a free trial for 30 days or buy it for $4.99. Check it out here.

-RP

December 9, 2012  7:28 PM

Anti-Virus in Windows 8

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So after installing Windows 8, you’ll probably want to install anti-virus. What should you use?

Well I should first point out that anti-virus is already included – Windows Defender is part of the package. However it’s not the greatest product, after all you get what you pay for. Microsoft Security Essentials is no longer available, as that is only available in the previous Windows 7 version.

Instead I would recommend at looking at the offerings from Kaspersky. Kaspersky has a great track record of keeping your computer secure and you can find it at great deals. Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 is Windows 8 ready and can be tried out for free in a 30 day trial.

-RP


December 7, 2012  7:27 PM

Windows 8 Start Menu

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So obviously one of the first things you will notice when you install Windows 8 is that your start menu is gone. In it’s place is the Windows 8 Start Screen.

At first glance, the Start Screen seems like a great replacement for the Start Menu, until you realize it’s just a cluttered mess and completely useless without a touch screen monitor. After all that’s what it was designed for. So how do you deal with this?

Enter Stardock, the company that specializes in Windows customizations. They have created a Windows Start Menu called Start8 and you can try it for free to see if you like it. If you decide to buy it it’s only $4.99.  How’s that for awesome!

-RP


December 5, 2012  6:43 PM

Have you embraced mobility?

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, love it or leave it, mobility is here and it’s here to stay. Not all IT managers have embraced BYOD since they face significant challenges around who has what rights to the device if the device belongs to the user.

Some people have stayed with corporately owned devices but are allowing users to use these devices for home use. Basically the inverse of BYOD. This way the corporation still owns the device and can reclaim it if there is a termination situation.

In any case, in the coming New Year, it’s probably best to develop some sort of strategy. People want to use their mobile devices, and they will not abide by an IT team that won’t play ball. Eventually as an IT team you will have to develop a strategy or risk being left behind.

-RP


December 3, 2012  6:51 PM

My Windows 8 Migration

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So after a long time of running Windows 8 in test virtual machines, and on other test machines, I finally decided to take the plunge and upgrade my main work laptop to Windows 8. Time to take the plunge!

I backed up all of my files, and created a list of all of my existing apps that I used before in Windows 7. Then away I went! So how did it go? Pretty good actually. I only had one problem.

At some point during reinstalling all my apps, I got to the point where I needed to install the SonicWALL Netextender VPN client. This client install would fail part way and somehow screwed up my wireless adapter where it would not detect wireless networks anymore. Even after reinstalling the appropriate drivers I couldn’t get my WiFi adapter to work again. It was very strange.

At this point I elected to go back to my last restore point before I attempted the SonicWALL Netextender client. This failed and got Windows 8 stuck in a reboot/repair loop. I was able to break out of that and choose a different restore point. This worked successfully and everything returned to normal. I proceeded to install all the rest of my apps and everything worked fine. The only thing I am missing is this VPN client. I will follow up with SonicWALL and see if I can get a version of this client that works. The sad thing is that I did use the recommended Windows 8  version, so it shouldn’t have caused an issue. My laptop is a brand new HP Folio 13, so if any of you run into similar problems you will know why.

-RP


November 30, 2012  2:54 PM

Application Delivery with Brocade

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! In this day and age we live in an app-centric world. The business relies on multiple applications to keep on working. Two of these applications such as Microsoft Lync and Microsfot Exchange are common in todays business world for unified communication and collaboration.

In order to deliver these services in a proper fashion with performance and load balancing, businesses are now having to look at ways to do this. Brocade provides a line of Application Delivery switches called the Brocade ADX Series.

These switches are layer 7 aware and allow you to perform such tasks as application load balancing and SSL offloading to help you with your application delivery needs. Using these devices you can provide site failover capabilities in conjuction with existing routing mechanisms, yet providing application level intelligence.

They are very interesting and robust products and I urge you to take a peek here.

-RP


November 29, 2012  10:18 PM

OCZ Z-Drive R4

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So as I mentioned in the last post, Fusion-IO’s SSD PCI and Mezzanine cards provide extreme performance for VDI solutions. But who is the competition? Are there any other options?

Well thankfully yes. Consumers do have a choice by looking at OCZ’s lineup. OCZ offers what they call the Z-Drive R4 for business use.

You can actually read a nice comparison review here.

-RP


November 20, 2012  10:06 PM

Fusion-io Accelerators

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So as you may have heard SSD is the way to go these days when you want high I/O capability.

Well Fusion-io makes accelerators that allow just that but by placing SSD on a PCI Express card and takes advantage of that full speed. They also offer a version that goes on a mezzanine card for your blades.

So what does this mean? It means you can run insanely fast virtualized hosts for your VDI environments so you can get the high I/O throughput that you need for large VDI deployments. The speeds are crazy.

You can read more here.

-RP

 


November 18, 2012  2:36 PM

Cisco buys Meraki

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So if you haven’t heard already, Cisco has bought Meraki for $1.2 billion in cash.

Why the buy when Cisco already has a great wireless portfolio? They probably bought Meraki for their cloud wireless solutions according to the buzz on the street.

It will be interesting to see how this affect existing Meraki customers going forward.

-RP


November 17, 2012  10:01 PM

New Wireless Access Points from Meru Networks

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So does your access point support 3X3 mimo? How about 3 spatial streams?

In my mind some of the best wireless vendors out there are vendors like Meru Networks and Cisco with some of the great access points they have. Now Meru is building on the success of their 3×3 mimo AP which was the AP320 and they now have the AP332.

Just like the old AP it can do 3X3 mimo but it also can do 3 spatial streams. This allows for higher density and will be sure to meet your BYOD needs! If that’s not enough you can move up to the 433 which has 3 radios instead of just 2 radios so you can really take advantage of Meru’s channel layering capabilities.

You can read more here.

-RP


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